What Are The Stages Of Uterine Prolapse?
A prolapsed uterus – or, uterine prolapse – is a condition in which the uterus begins to drop into the vagina as a result of the weakening of support structures, including the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments. Uterine prolapse is often found alongside other types of pelvic organ prolapse, including a prolapsed bladder and/or rectum into the vagina. Common risk factors include, but are not limited to: genetic factors, vaginal deliveries, and advancing age.
Symptoms of uterine prolapse include a sensation of heaviness or pulling in the pelvis, a bulge protruding from the vagina, pain during sex, lower back pain, difficulty retaining tampons, and more. It is possible to also be asymptomatic to milder stages of prolapse. Determining the stages of pelvic organ prolapse requires a physical exam of the pelvis by a physician. Imaging studies are typically not required. Explanations of each stage can be found below.
Stage I: the cervix of the uterus has begun to descend, but is still in the vagina.
Stage II: the cervix of the uterus has descended to the vaginal opening.
Stage III: the cervix of the uterus has begun to breach through the vaginal opening.
Stage IV: the cervix of the uterus has fully descended through the vaginal opening.
Patient symptoms as well as the stage and type of prolapse are taken into consideration in order to best determine the appropriate treatment. For example, patients with minimal or no symptoms with mild prolapse can remain under observation. Patients with disruptive symptoms and/or advanced stages of prolapse may require more aggressive surgical repair, such as hysterectomy and/or sacrocolpopexy.
If you believe that you are suffering from uterine prolapse or another form of pelvic organ prolapse, contact Austin Urogynecology today to schedule a free consultation.
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